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Effective: Summer 2017

Advisory: Advisory: MUS 13A, 13B and 13C; this course is included in the Theatre Voice family of activity courses; not open to students with credit in MUS 48B.
Grade Type: Letter Grade Only
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU/UC
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • Students, through introduction of theory, demonstration, exercise and examination, will be able to understand and produce the fundamentals of singing for the musical theatre stage.
  • Students integrate the demands of healthy vocal production into appropriate solo and ensemble repertoire with an emphasis on character development and communication.
Description -
Practical introduction to the fundamentals of singing for musical theatre repertoire. Students will explore the principals of healthy vocal production in solo and/or ensemble singing to develop the singing voice through exercises and repertoire from the Standard American Musical Theatre. Songs will be developed with strong emphasis on character development and communication.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. gain a deeper understanding and technical proficiency with singing in the musical theatre genre.
  2. learn a wide variety of repertoire choices as well as gain a deeper understanding of voice and physical type related to casting in musical theatre.
  3. introduce the principles of communication within song as singer-actors, as communicators within the context of stage performance (i.e. characters within a story).
  4. have 1-2 fully prepared songs appropriate for audition.
  5. develop the skills needed to work with an accompanist at audition and rehearsal.
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. Large rehearsal room with piano
  2. Accompanist
  3. Voice recording equipment is strongly advised
  4. Audio/visual equipment; internet available computer/media equipped classroom

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Fundamentals of singing technique
    1. posture and breath support
      1. expand ability to properly support a musical phrase
      2. maintain that support within heightened dramatic and emotional moments in sung repertoire
      3. personal vocal warm-up regimen designed to build vocal skills and increase flexibility
    2. gain an understanding of 'speech level' singing as required in musical theatre
    3. develop ability to move from speaking voice into song without shifts in vocal sound
    4. understand vowel modification in movement through vocal registers
    5. develop focus skills in order to overcome nerves and self-consciousness
  2. Identify 'type' in musical theatre genre and repertoire appropriate to individual type
    1. familiarity with vocal range and quality within the genre
    2. identify roles appropriate to vocal and physical type
    3. ability to describe stylistic practices and perform within the sub-genres of musical theatre historical periods from the 1920s to present day
  3. Develop skills to integrate acting with singing for the musical stage
    1. use of vocal interpretation in support of character expression and emotions
    2. mastery of moment to moment journey of character within each song by sustaining both vocal energy and dramatic intention
    3. identify how the vocal line and musical accompaniment support and define the character's emotional journey and discovery
  4. Prepare assigned repertoire vocally, musically and dramatically in preparation for audition
    1. two contrasting songs within type: up tempo and ballad
    2. prepared with appropriate vocal and musical development
    3. develop contrasting characters supported by music
  5. Expand knowledge of rehearsal technique as a singer
    1. appropriately prepare music copies in a binder for an accompanist
    2. understand how to communicate tempo and musical needs within a song to an accompanist
    3. develop communication skills for ensemble work with other singers, director and musical director
    4. develop skills for auditioning
      1. communicating with auditioners
      2. call-back questions and preparation
      3. appropriate dress
      4. resumes and headshots
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Vocal warm-up and development exercises.
  2. Rehearsal and presentation of assigned material.
  3. Character analysis and scenes for assigned songs
  4. Short homework assignments posted in the Course Studio covering various topics from reflective singing exercises to listening and video watching assignments.
Representative Text(s) -
Gagne, Jeannie. Your Singing Voice.. Pap/Com edition. Boston: Berklee Press Publications, 2012.
Songs and ensembles provided by instructor.

Disciplines -
Music or Theatre Arts
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture presentations and classroom discussion of American musical theatre and vocal technique.
  2. In-class singing of musical theatre material by students followed by instructor-guided interpretation and analysis.
  3. Individual and group presentations of major projects followed by in-class discussion and evaluation.
Lab Content -
  1. Exercises and rehearsal of individual vocal exercises.
  2. Small group collaborative rehearsal of voice exercises and assignments.
  3. Large ensemble rehearsal of vocal, musical, text and movement assignments.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Individual and ensemble lyrics and script reading assignments
  2. Self-reflective journal and/or character analysis of songs
  3. Research paper on composers and/or lyricists studied